Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door GameCube Review

RPG’s are a growing need in society. People play them and fall in love with the story, the characters, and the game in general. RPG’s can take up several positions, and one of those is a turn based game. Turn based games are incorporated in many different ways, and developers are becoming more innovative in creating them. But one stands out from the fray and missed the shredder. Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door is the second game in the popular franchise, and is the successor to the innovative Paper Mario for the N64. Intelligent Systems has certainly done something wonderful that should never be ignored or crumpled and tossed away.

Gameplay

Princess Peach has taken a journey to Rogueport – a dirty place over run by scum of all sorts. Toadsworth has failed to keep her safe and Princess Peach has been captured once more. Before her captors took her away, she had mailed Mario a mysterious map she had purchased. Now Mario is on his way to meet up with the beautiful princess and find the treasure. Little does he know that he’s in for more than a mere treasure hunt! The story starts very smoothly and there is no confusion as it unfolds. There is no background on which a player should have played the original to understand it, and it gives off a fantastic vibe when played.

As stated, Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door is a turn based RPG with much to offer. A player will learn the mechanics of the game almost immediately during battle. The battle system isn’t complicated at all, but that doesn’t affect the amount of fun derived from playing. A player can choose from several attack modes which include jump, hammer, special, and items. A fifth choice is ‘strategy’ where a player can defend, swap partners, and try to power up their star power. This can also be done by building up an audience which grows as you become better at fighting. Star Power is what lets a player use special attacks that are acquired after every chapter. Mario will build up a party of partners over the course of the game, and each has their own abilities inside and outside of the battle. In battle, for example, Koops, Mario’s second party member, will be able to attack multiple enemies. Outside the field, Koops can collect items that are out of jumping range. The order of battle is done as follows: Mario and his partner will attack first (they can swap spots if one is desired to attack first) and then the enemy will attack. Usually by attacking an enemy outside of the battle, the enemy will receive extra damage, and likewise if an enemy attacks Mario.

Inside and outside the battlefield, Mario and his party members have hit points (HP) and flower points (FP). HP is depleted as Mario is hurt and FP is depleted as Mario and his allies use better attacks that are usually granted use by badges. As Mario battles on, he earns star points, and for every 100 collected, he will gain a level and choose what to upgrade: HP by five, FP by five, or BP (Badge Power) by three. This adds a challenge to the game because if a player doesn’t fight enough, they will be less prepared for future fights. Also, a player must upgrade accordingly to what they need, because they may eventually find themselves without enough FP to fight. This adds a whole new dimension to why a player should take the time to fight through the game. Battles can get tough, but they aren’t impossible if everything has been upgraded enough.

Dialogue in the game is interesting, entertaining and witty all mashed up and served for dessert. It really develops a sense of character for everyone you talk to. Whether it’s a boy-crazed girl, or the big and bossy Bowser, the dialogue keeps them all in line and creates many unforgettable characters. Bowser, being one of the more witty characters, tends to add humour into every stage, and every time he appears. Even Mario, though he himself does not speak, has developed a character through the words of others. Rarely, some parts can be a tad long and unexciting, but an event shortly after crams the yawn back in to never resurface.

Graphics

The graphics of Paper Mario: the Thousand Year Door are everything that makes graphical power great. They’re original, innovative, interesting, and still give a player the feel the original gave although improved upon drastically. As many have guessed, the graphics are like Paper, but the game is a three dimensional wonder world. In many instances, when a puzzle is solved, or an event occurs, the environment will turn the page for a surprise and fold out or tear off.

Sound

Sound is important for nearly every game, whether it’s musically orchestrated or voiced by a famous actor. Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door doesn’t use voice actors, but blends together a brilliant soundtrack. Whether it’s listening to one of Luigi’s tall tales, or creeping through Hooktail’s skull-filled castle, the music fits the game perfectly. The sound follows what the events are, and effectively do so.

Lifespan

As with the usual game, Paper Mario: TTYD incorporates a mix of the main quest and several side quests. The main quest on a first try will take approximately twenty to twenty-five hours to complete. A game with completing every side quest on a first try is on a much larger variety depending on the speed a player completes it at. This will in most cases vary between seventy and one-hundred hours of game play. Paper Mario: TTYD isn’t a game that a person would start playing over again immediately over completion, for it is too long to do that. But if a drought in gaming is found, or a player can’t decide what to play over again, Paper Mario would be near the top of the list to play.

Overall

Paper Mario brings an innovative look to the RPG turn based world. It has a solid storyline and has solid characters that gamers will fall in love with. It combines seriousness with witty comments, and on every single aspect is greater than the original. Cover to cover, it brings a solid battle system into play, and is near impossible to put down. Paper Mario is an enjoyable experience I hope to enjoy again.

9.4 out of 10

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